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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No legal pathway for most illegals

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The legal immigrants in your article ("CBO: Immigration bill only stops 25 percent of illegal immigration," Web, June 18) should consider themselves fortunate — their path to legal residency is a bureaucratic nightmare, but at least it exists.

Unfortunately, that's not the case for unskilled, non-agricultural workers — the bulk of illegal immigrants. The best they can hope for is an H-2B visa, which is only for temporary work, self-liquidates once the job is complete, and takes five years to get. This assumes, of course, that the applicant can prove they have property in their home country that they can return to, a tall order given most of them come from nations of desperate poverty.

Contrary to the popular trope, there is no queue, no line for most illegals. They simply cannot gain permanent, or even extended, residency. They cannot apply for a green card (the mere suggestion that they might is grounds for ending their H-2B), and they cannot become citizens. What, then, are they to do?

While much attention has been given to the amnesty granted to illegals back in the '80s, one glaring question remains unanswered: Why was there an illegal-immigration problem back then to begin with? The answer lies in the Immigration Act of 1965, which created arbitrary and subjective distinctions between skilled and unskilled labor and capped Latin American immigration. Ever since, our immigration policies have been rooted less in reality and more in dreams that the federal government somehow knows the "right number" of immigrants per year.


Parksley, Va.

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